Life as an Adult
At some point, you learn that lies are often better than the truth. The truth can hurt people.
This afternoon I rushed out of the house to meet Sandra Bullock and the Jawa at Target. I had the credit card. They needed it. I was busy thinking up words to put to the tune of "Oops! I did it again..." to describe the situation, because the Jawa always gets a kick out of songs:
Oops! I did it again.
I stole your Amex,
To fill up the car.
There, standing no more than 10 feet from the Acura was a neighbor who had recently moved the Hawaii, but not before doing what I felt were some lousy things that made me not want to have anything to do with this neighbor. Honestly, what she and her husband did seemed really sneaky to me, and really hurt my feelings. It made their last month or so here extremely difficult for me. So there's a problem here. My options:
1) Quickly rush past, into my car and drive away. As far as I know, this neighbor does not yet know my true feelings. In fact, S. Bullock recently forwarded me an email from this neighbor, inviting us to a "reunion party" on Sunday.
So, in this case, the truth was not an option. Other choices:
2) Go over and say "hi!" and take my lumps.
I chose option 2, and in doing so, began an extended lie. I wanted nothing more than to get away from this person, and thought it was kind of bizarre that she was standing on my street when she lives across an entire ocean in a place I have thought of as the least hip place in the world since I was 22.
This was lie #1.
Lie #2 came when she asked if I'd gotten the email about the party. "What email?" I said innocently. I did this because I was angry at myself for pretending to be happy to see this person, and though I wanted to end this episode as quickly as possible, I couldn't resist the urge to screw with her a little bit. So not all lies are necessary. Some are just for kicks.
But I'm thinking of lie #3 -- the biggest lie and the most necessary. I needed to get out of there, but I knew that, given that I haven't seen this person who doesn't know how much animosity I have towards her since she and her husband moved last summer, that I should stay and make small talk. I didn't have time or the stomach to do this, so out came Lie #3: "I've got to get going, but we can catch up at the party on Sunday." To rationalize this, I maintain that I conducted the entire conversation in the guarded, cool manner I adopted last summer following our fall-out. Whatever. I have no plans to attend this party.
Sandra Bullock claims that I was "politically correct" in my behavior. Joe Strummer, if he were alive and cared, would say I was a sell-out. No, wait, he'd probably say I was a "wanker."
I used to get in trouble for not lying. I think they call it "tactless." I was so bad that a couple of years ago, at my 20th high school reunion, this guy I barely know or knew came up to me and told me that I'd once made fun of his shoes. Nice. Worst part of that is, when you're the guy who makes fun of people's shoes, anyone else can make fun of your shoes and you can't do anything about it.
So it's better to lie, I guess, though it still doesn't make me feel like a great human being. Just one who hates confrontations. Unless someone steals a parking spot from me.